Trump is a ‘danger’ to the country and he needs to go, say former U.S. diplomats

U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.

Brendan Smialowski | AFP | Getty Images

President Donald Trump — who has been blamed for inciting a mob that invaded Capitol Hill — is a “danger” to the U.S. as long as he remains in office, two former American diplomats told CNBC on Friday.

Trump’s term officially ends in less than two weeks on Jan. 20 when Joe Biden will be sworn in as the next U.S. president. But questions have emerged over whether Trump should be removed before that day.

“I think what we learned yesterday — which many of us have felt for a number of months, if not years — is that every day that Donald Trump is in office is a danger to our country,” Kirk Wagar, U.S. ambassador to Singapore from 2013 to 2017, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

Trump finally conceded late Thursday that Biden will become the next president. His refusal to accept defeat in the presidential election culminated in a deadly riot in the halls of Congress on Wednesday, where at least five people died in clashes and dozens were reportedly injured.

With several Trump administration officials resigning following Wednesday’s events, “this is where our competitors — those countries who want to do us harm — really have a moment to strike,” said Wagar, who is now chair of consultancy Wagar Global Advisors.

His sentiment was shared by Gary Locke, U.S. ambassador to China from 2011 to 2014, who said Trump “is completely off-kilter and is a danger to the country.”

“He does need to go, the question is whether or not using the 25th Amendment would really work,” Locke told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia,” referring to a provision in the Constitution that allows the vice president — with support from majority of the cabinet — to remove a sitting president.

Locke, who’s also a former commerce secretary and ex-governor of Washington state, added that any process to oust Trump now would take “so much time.”

“I think it may be equally effective if the members of his administration simply ignore him and make sure that they’re not carrying out any orders that he may have that would be very injurious to the national security and to the interests of America,” he said.

Options to oust Trump

There have been growing calls from former and current U.S. officials to remove Trump from office.

Top Democrats in Congress, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), said Congress may move forward with impeachment if Vice President Mike Pence and the cabinet do not invoke the 25th Amendment.

To impeach a president would require a simple majority in the House. Two-thirds majority in the Senate is needed to convict and remove the president from office.

Lisa Manheim, a law professor at the University of Washington, said it’s unlikely that either impeachment or the invoking of the 25th Amendment would happen before Jan. 20.

She told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” that Republican senators may not vote to remove Trump, and pointed to media reports that said Pence opposed using the 25th Amendment.

“The third option, of course, is just to wait it out for the next 12 days, which may be what we end up seeing,” she said.   

— CNBC’s Jacob Pramuk contributed to this report.

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